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Kids Drama

Ant had always found the bus stop awkward. How could it not be? You stood beside a bench because you were too socially awkward to sit beside the girl in the thick mascara reading a book, while other people walked past not even acknowledging your existence. Like the bus stop was some sort of time-out corner. People in transport, neither hear nor there, a space separate from the rest of the world. The cold wind blew up Ant's legs and ruffled the edges of their shorts. It ruffled the pages of the book on the girl's lap too, nearly taking one completely off. The book was obviously well read. pages were dogeared, the spine was cracked, and post-its burst from every conceivable angle to make the book twice it's normal size. Ant shuffled behind the bus bench, looking down at the concrete like there was something there. They glanced over the girl's shoulder. Her dark hair got in the way of most of the page, but they could make out the title.

"Waiting for Godot," Ant said. "Hah."

The girl looked up at them. She had very dark eyes. Her expression was slightly annoyed. "What's so funny?"

"Ah?" Ant began to sweat nervously. They looked over their shoulder to check if she was really talking to them. She was. They scratched at the bandaid on their knee. "Oh. Uh. Well it's kind of funny because they're waiting and we're waiting and who they're waiting for doesn't come just like this bus isn't.... haha...."

The girl's lip twisted. Ant hoped the perspiration on their forehead wouldn't blow off and hit her. That would be real embarrassing. She stuck out her hand, the wind shaking through the gold and blue bracelets snaking up her wrist. "I'm Cleo."

"Hi Cleo, I'm Ant. Um. I use they/them pronouns." Ant took her hand and shook it. She had a snake ring that curled over the knuckle and bit into his hand just a little bit. "Um," Ant looked at their hands. "That's a cool ring."

"It doesn't bite," said Cleo. She tilted her chin down, studying their hands, which Ant was still holding together, and then back up at Ant. "Neither do I."

Ant looked down at their hands and let go quickly. "Sorry. Sorry. I'm just- I don't mean to be creepy. I didn't grab your hand extra long to do anything, I just- I'm really awkward."

"Hello Really Awkward, I'm Cleo."

Ant grimaced but tried to make it look like a grin. "Ha."

"I use she/her pronouns."

"Cool. That's cool."

Cleo looked like she couldn't tell whether to laugh at them or pity them. She looked back down at the book in her lap, then held it up, asking, "You've read Waiting for Godot?"

"No. My parents took me to see it once. I didn't really get it. I mean the acting was good, and it's a good play, but it doesn't really go anywhere."

"I suppose not," Cleo agreed studying the worn copy. "But if you really think about it, nothing does."

Ant licked his lips, confused. "What?"

"If you think about it. The Earth's a globe; everywhere you go by transit you can't escape the globe, you're always on it. You're never going somewhere new. And space too, all the atoms out there are already out there. There's no new space to find that hasn't already at the molecular level been here."

Ant sat on the edge of the bench opposite her and scratched at their bandaid. "I suppose."

"But when you wait for something, you're kind of in uncharted territory. Because you don't know what you'll find, and each time it's different. You're staying still and the world moves around you."

"A little pocket of time."

Cleo laughed. "Exactly! A little pocket of time." She repeated it again to herself, savouring the way it sounded, "A little pocket of time, pocket of time."

"So what are you waiting for? I'm waiting for the bus. I'm going to take it to my Nana's house, once it gets here. I always go there on weekends. But you're right, each weekend is different and I never know exactly when the bus is getting here," Ant laughed nervously to stop rambling. "Sometimes I think I'm waiting to find courage or something or a way to stop rambling or to get out of my head. Public transit scares me sometimes, did you know that?"

"I didn't know that," Cleo said. She patted their hand, then glanced down the road opposite to the direction that Ant knew the bus would be coming in.

"So what are you waiting for? Are you waiting for the bus too?"

Cleo absentmindedly flipped through her book. She was still staring down the road, her fingers moving of their own accord. The wind rustled the edges, pulling free the page that had been loosening from it's binding before. Ant swallowed as it pulled free. Should they say anything? Cleo looked so contemplative, they didn't want to ruin her line of thought. They coughed awkwardly and pointed after the page. Looking for the page, however, it was no where in sight. Done the edge of the street, rounding the corner, came the rectangular flat face of the bus.

"Cleo the bus is coming."

Ant felt anxious as the bus approached. Cleo didn't move. Why didn't she move? Had she not heard them? The bus pulled to a stop in front of them.

"Cleo...?" And asked, standing between the bench and the bus, poised between the going and the staying.

"I'm not waiting for the bus, Ant. I'm just waiting. I don't know for what, just that here is a good place for it," Cleo turned and smiled at them. The sticky notes in her book riffled and sang, the bright colours flapping in the light like prayer flags. "Get on the bus. You have a place to be. Maybe I'll see you again."

Ant stepped onto the bus. As they fumbled with their backpack they turned to look at Cleo one last time.

"Wait for me," Ant called as the doors shut, severing Cleo into her little parcel of space, closing like a zipper.

She looked back at them, moved but not moving by the wind they could no longer feel. Her voice came to them, quiet with distance but yet very close: "I will."

July 08, 2020 02:07

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5 comments

Elle Clark
21:32 Jul 12, 2020

I wondered if anyone would reference Waiting for Godot and I’m so happy that you did. Words can’t describe how much I hate Waiting for Godot so I’m also glad you didn’t delve too deep into it. I loved seeing a non-binary protagonist and also love that you made it so explicit. Representation is so important. Great writing, well done!

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Smudge Himmel
18:17 Jul 13, 2020

Thank you! I haven't actually read or seen Waiting for Godot, I've just read a synopsis which is why I didn't really go into it, haha. I'm glad you liked the story!

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Elle Clark
18:22 Jul 13, 2020

Lots of people love it but I don’t think you’re missing out if you don’t read it! Having said that, I think people will miss out if they don’t read yours. If you have time and are interested, feel free to check some of mine out, too.

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Smudge Himmel
18:31 Jul 13, 2020

Thank you, that means a lot!

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Wow, this was awesome! (P. S. Would you mind checking out one or two of my stories? If so, thanks a ton!)

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